Anthropology of Crime and Security EASA Conference 2022 – Call for Panels

The Anthropology of Crime and Criminalisation network and the Anthropology of Security network ( ) are pleased to announce their first conference together, live, at the University of Bologna, Italy.

Official website with updates:

When: 17-19 May 2022

Where: the University of Bologna, Department of History and Cultures (DISCI) – Bologna (Italy). 

CALL FOR PANELS (now closed):

As a result of current social, political and economic trends, anthropologists are increasingly interested in security, crime, and criminalisation. The first jointly organised conference between the Anthropology of Crime and Criminalisation (AnthroCrime) and the Anthropology of Security (ASN) EASA networks aims to explore the imbrication between crime and security, developing novel methodological and theoretical approaches to their analysis.


Inextricably connected in current governmental regimes across the globe, crime and security have attained new characteristics under neo-liberal global conditions. Since the 1980s, globalisation has created new flows of goods, capital, and people, often blurring the line between legitimate entrepreneurs and criminals. Nevertheless, not much has changed since the early days of criminal anthropology, as the public talk of crime today rarely stigmatises white-collar workers or affluent entrepreneurs. Often, people pushed to the margins of society (physically and symbolically) are blamed for their own exclusion. Their presence is abused  to construct new moral and societal boundaries, enabling repressive policies at the expense of social interventions. A security apparatus that challenges the boundaries between the public and the private, the local and the international, affects everyone, whether victims of criminalisation or consumers of old and new safety forms and technologies. However, despite widespread alarmism, relatively little is known about these local and interconnected forms of crime and their actual lived experiences and trajectories. Statistical data tend to combine completely different social phenomena (such as mafia, organised crime, traffickers, or street gangs) and their political, economic and historical roots in an indistinct moral panic. Yet, claiming objectivity and neutrality, security experts develop intricate technologies used to prevent, pre-empt, and predict crime, moving towards an acclaimed ‘pre-crime society’ where safety and crime risks are brought to negligible levels. Such technologies, already used by police in many urban contexts, give birth to a plethora of ethical and political issues. Through their integration into “smart” lifestyles, security and surveillance systems permeate and colonise the most intimate realms of everyday life, eventually exposed to cybercrime.

Different public and academic sectors call for new methodological approaches (transnational, multi-sited, ethnographic) that offer ways to follow, chart and analyse movements of people, capital and goods that are often represented in superficial ways in media and political circles. In exploring and analysing the lived experiences of actors otherwise described as perverse criminals or passive enforcers of the state’s will, social and cultural anthropology have much to offer. However, there is also a solid need to reinvigorate anthropology’s theoretical perspectives on crime and security and to address the challenges that ethnographic methodology faces when working on these issues (for instance, by integrating criminology, STS, or other disciplines into an interdisciplinary framework).


In addition to several panels related to the anthropology of crime and security, the conference will hold a workshop and a laboratory. The laboratory will be dedicated to the challenges of doing ethnography in the field of security and crime, while the workshop aims to facilitate future publications based on conference papers. Panels will be organised offline/locally, while keynotes (speakers to be confirmed) will be hybrid (addressing a local audience and broadcasted online). Attendees will need a vaccination certificate valid in Europe or a COVID-19 test performed in Bologna during the conference days to join the offline conference. These guidelines may change closer to the conference due to public policy revisions.


If you are interested in participating in this conference, please fill in the following form with your panel proposal, of approximately 300 words, and a short biography:

(now closed)

A call for papers will be issued after the panels have been shortlisted (find more information here: ).

In the tradition of EASA conferences, we strongly encourage proposals for joint panels by scholars from different countries and/or institutions. We list below an indicative and broad (but not exhaustive) list of possible panels topics:

  • Living within crime & insecurity: vigilantism, gated communities, cooperation, co-optation and resistance
  • Crime and criminalisation in national and international securitised contexts: social and socio-legal, political, phenomenological and historical analyses of organised crime and mafia, trafficking, gangs, youth delinquency, social bandits and criminal entrepreneurs
  • Securitised groups: lived experiences and resistance
  • Immigration, crime and criminalisation: revisiting the ‘crimmigration’ & security nexus
  • Crime talk, security talk and moral panic
  • Subjective feelings of crime, security and safety
  • Crime and security governmentalities
  • Prohibition and legalisation
  • Security & crime laws: shifts, debates, outcomes
  • Crimes of the powerful: state and corporate crimes, patrimonialism, clientelism, corruption and white-collar crimes
  • Policing, securitisation, and criminalisation
  • Criminalisation, securitisation and race, class, and gender
  • Digital (In)Security, Surveillance, Online Crime and Darknet
  • Surveillance capitalism: methods and theory
  • Surveillance technologies
  • Changing security and crime landscapes in pandemic times
  • Crossing (disciplinary) boundaries: Anthropology in dialogue with other (sub)disciplinary fields
  • Intersections between Criminology and Social Anthropology: theory and methods
  • Methodological and ethical issues (for the lab)

Deadline for panel proposal submission: 15 January 2022

For any further questions, please email: